Three race reports for the price of one (which is free by the way!)
I had every intention of writing a race report for West Point last weekend but some how didn’t find the time and before I knew it was time for Iron Girl. So, I figured I would do a combination report for the 3 tris I did in June, something I don't recommend doing because I am exhausted right now!
Sweetwater mini tri (June 7) - As you have already read in other reports this is a small, very laid back tri and I thought it would be a fun way to get in some “real” training. The swim was only 200 m and was over before it began and then I was off on my bike. The bike is my worst leg but I have been working on it and thought this was a good opportunity to really push hard on the short 10 mile course. I felt pretty good about my time but was disappointed that a few times I had to slow down to avoid cars and trucks on the course since we did not have a dedicated lane for the race. I felt I finished the bike leg strong but I think I paid for it on the run. My legs weren’t bricks they were cinder blocks! The run felt longer than 3 miles but I made it through the run and finished in 1:20:18. This was very low tech so no timing chips.
Overall impression - great training race and perfect for newbies. It was awesome to see so many Get Fitters out on the course and there was great support. I would definitely do this again next year.
West Point Olympic (June13) - I was really nervous about this race because it would be my first full Olympic distance. I have been putting in the training time but I was worried about having enough energy left for the run. Another concern was nutrition since I really haven't had to put too much thought into in previous sprint distance races. I brought all kinds of gu's, gels, bars and pretzels with me and figured I would just try some things and see what worked.
I started off the morning with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some water. I set up in transition and just by looking around at the gear and competitors, it was clear to me that this was a whole different world than sprint tris.
Swim - 1500 meters - I wasn't too worried about the swim since I have done a swim leg in an Olympic last fall at Tugaloo. It was a two by two times start and Rebecca and I went into the water together right behind Peggy so we could keep each other in sight during the swim. Maybe I should have been a little more concerned because after about 5 minutes that swim panic started and it took much longer to calm down. Something about not being able to see the swim exit is a little disconcerting. Plus, there was a weird cross current from the wind and the support boat that kept circling the course. I felt like I was being pushed sideways the entire time and was struggling to propel myself forward. I lost sight of Rebecca but saw Peggy get out of the water ahead of me. We started near the back of the pack so there were very few bikes left in transition when I exited the water. I looked at my watch and my time was 10 minutes slower than Tugaloo and that really made me mad so I was battling a few mental demons when I got on the bike. Time – 45:38
T1 - I grabbed a few pretzels and power bar bursts and was off.
Bike - 40K -I hardly saw anyone at the beginning of the bike course but I did manage to pass 2 people so that boosted my spirits. Those demons kept saying things like “What were you thinking signing up for Augusta you big fraud? You are way out of your league!” I tried to ignore the voices in my head and just kept pedaling. I pushed myself on the bike but not too hard because I was still worried about the run. The bike course was not very hilly compared to some and was very scenic. I found myself singing songs in my head and trying to amuse myself and I was beginning to feel a little insane out there. I remember my nose was running and I was sniffing for about 30 minutes and finally gave up and blew a snot rocket (something I have NEVER done) and I thought to myself you are a real triathlete now! Well, that made me laugh hysterically so I knew I was really losing my mind. Eventually, I began to see other Get Fitters – Bill, Elaine, Rebecca and Peggy and before I knew it the bike leg was about over. I was entering the final stretch when Elaine comes tearing up behind me and shouted some encouragement at me right before entering transition. That gave me a little boost and I hopped off my bike to get ready for the run. Time – 1:45:53
Nutrition - 1 gel at mile 4 and 1 gel at mile 14 with a plan for a third in transition and accelerade in my water bottles.
T2- grabbed my fuel belt with more accelerade and forgot my gel
Run - 10K - The run was tough! It was a flat enough course but it was a lonely run over that damn dam! Luckily the sun wasn't beating down on us. The big problem was that I was really dragging. I willed myself to keep running and was proud that I never stopped and even passed a couple of men along the way. I really needed that gel and was kicking myself the whole way for forgetting to grab it. Finally, I could hear the cheers and announcements and made it to the finish line. Run – 68:46
I did it! Peggy, Keri and Rebecca were there to congratulate me - Yeah!! My first Olympic is done! Total time – 3:44:16
Lessons learned - need to work on nutrition plan and bike still needs lots of work plus a swim lesson wouldn't hurt. Still not sure that signing up for Augusta was the wisest thing to do but I didn't think I could do an Olympic and I just did it!
Iron Girl (June 28) - This was my second Iron Girl so I felt much more relaxed than last year. I even got to help some newbies with tire pumping, directions on where to enter and exit transition and where to put your helmet sticker. Made me feel like I actually knew what I was doing. My only concerns going into the race were the heat and trying to beat last year's time - especially on the bike!
Swim - This year I was with the 40 yr olds so I started in wave 3. I felt good at the beginning of the swim but quickly started struggling to find room to actually swim. It soon became more of a battle than a swim but eventually I got to the exit and saw my time was 1 minute slower than last year. Again, I was battling those mental demons - I think a swim lesson is in order to find out what bad habits I picked up over the winter. Time – 15:14
T1 - the run to transition after the swim is not fun at this race but I made it up the hill and got to my bike to find some girl had set up all her stuff directly in front of mine. Cursed her (hopefully NBC wasn’t around) and then stepped around her stuff (instead of kicking it like I wanted to) and grabbed my bike gear and then I was off.
Bike - I wanted to really kill the bike course this year since my time last year was so pitiful on this leg. I felt much better on the hills and felt like I maintained a decent speed throughout. I also passed quite a few ladies this year instead of being passed. That definitely gave me a little boost. The only real problem was the girls who wouldn't keep to the right and kept riding two and three abreast. I got real nervous twice on a large downhill when I had no room to pass on the left without slowing down. I don't remember it being such a problem last year but I think there were less people overall. Checked my time as I neared the end and I saw that I had chopped 10 minutes off last year’s time. I was happy but had hoped for more. Time – 1:14:10
T2 - I felt look it took forever to run my bike around and back to my spot but finally made it and got ready for the run.
Run - The course is a bit hilly and it was very hot so I prepared myself that this was not going to be fun by any stretch of the imagination. I felt good but not overly energetic and really didn't have that last little push to get me over the finish line like last year. I was happy to finish and saw my overall time was 10 minutes faster than last year. I had hoped to get under 2 hours but it was still an improvement. Time – 30:48
Lessons learned - still need work on the bike - average speed was 14.6 (crap!). Very disappointing since I feel like I am pedaling my butt off!. This is going to be my focus in preparing for Augusta. I was happy with my run time since it was so hot but I think I have some work to do on the swim too. Also, 3 triathlons in one month probably not the best plan followed up by the Peachtree this weekend. I am not racing in July but will probably do another Olympic in August before Augusta. Look out Iron Girl 2010 – I am going to go under 2 hours!!